Category Minority Veterans

Boxer entering a ring, ready for a fight.

PASSION, DUTY, AND A LABOR OF LOVE: HELPING VETERANS AT CALVET IS ALL OF THE ABOVE

For those of us who work at the California Department of Veterans Affairs, however, every day is Veterans Day. It is our passion, our duty, and a labor of love to help veterans in all ways within our means. Many who work for CalVet are veterans themselves — veterans serving veterans. You, too, can make […]

Young Lee in Korea wearing combat fatigues. Picture of a Navy Cross, which was awarded to him.

KOREAN WAR BEGAN 71 YEARS AGO TODAY: FIVE MONTHS LATER, CALIFORNIA’S KURT CHEW-EEN LEE PROVIDED UNIMAGINABLE HEROICS

On a hilltop in Placerville, the El Dorado County Veterans Monument offers a beautiful and fitting tribute to those who served to defend this nation and its Constitution. Some are manifested by name and rank. Others, including Korean War hero and Marine Major Kurt Chew-Een Lee, are honored with plaques that can only begin to […]

A photo of the Juneteenth flag and a copy of the General Order #3.

JUNETEENTH CELEBRATIONS FOCUS ON PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE WITH LIVE EVENTS AS STATE REOPENS

The state of California has reopened, and just in time for Juneteenth events that bring a great opportunity for celebration, education, and unity. Juneteenth – combining June and the nineteenth – represents June 19, 1865, the day when 250,000 enslaved people in Texas were told by Major General Gordon Granger that they were now free. […]

Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne.

D-DAY INVASION PRODUCED 13 MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS, INCLUDING A CALIFORNIAN

The invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, began the final Allied forces’ push across Europe to destroy the Nazi regime and end the war in Europe. That battle alone led to 13 Americans ultimately receiving the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest tribute to bravery in the face of the enemy. Army paratrooper Private […]

CHINESE AMERICAN VETERAN RECEIVES CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL AT CALVET’S WEST LA VETERANS HOME

Wellington Yee Kwan, a World War II veteran and resident of the Veterans Home of California-West Los Angeles, received the Congressional Gold Medal on April 18 during a private ceremony at the Home. Kwan, who is 98, can be counted among the 20,000 Chinese American World War II veterans eligible to receive the medal for […]

RACISM KEPT CALIFORNIAN CARTER FROM RECEIVING MEDAL OF HONOR UNTIL 34 YEARS AFTER HIS PASSING

On March 23, 1945, Army Private Edward A. Carter Jr. and three others in his tank squad came under attack by German forces as they neared Speyer, Germany. Their tank ablaze, the four soldiers ran toward cover across the field. Two died, another was wounded. Carter knocked out two enemy machine gun nests and engaged […]

WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH AND CALVET HOME LOAN SUCCESS STORIES ALL ROLLED INTO ONE

During Women’s History Month each March, CalVet Connect tells the stories of some exceptional women veterans who live in the Golden State. This year, CalVet’s Home Loans program turns 100 years old, giving us opportunities to write about our veteran clients as well. Eboni Strader represents both. She’s a disabled U.S. Army veteran and single […]

FROM KHOBAR TOWERS TO COURTROOM ADVOCACY; VETERAN’S STORY A WORK IN PROGRESS

On the evening of June 25, 1996, Latia Suttle settled in for the night in her quarters in the United States Army’s housing at the Khobar Towers complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. At least she thought she had. “We were there on a peacekeeping mission,” Suttle said. The marble floor suddenly sank beneath her feet. […]

Vietnam War veteran Phillip Willis discusses racial discrimination during Black History Month.

A THIRST FOR EQUALITY: DYING NAVY VETERAN’S STORY RESONATES AS BLACK HISTORY MONTH LESSON

One summer afternoon in the late 1950s, eight-year-old Phillip Willis, Jr. took a break from mowing lawns at a home in Jackson, Mississippi. Having worked up a thirst, Willis asked his employer, a white woman, for a glass of water.   That simple and reasonable request required minimal physical effort on the woman’s part. Mainly, it required mere humanity and compassion for a young Black kid toiling in the stifling heat and humidity. She begrudgingly gave him the water, Willis said, along with a not-so-subtle reminder that he […]

IN THEIR HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: ANOTHER CALVET SUCCESS STORY

A few weeks ago, U.S. Army veteran Eric Ornelas and his September bride, Marie, went shopping for lights and other Christmas decorations. For some homeowners, that means picking up more LED strings as they strive to make their homes visible from the International Space Station. Others might scour the clearance racks after the holidays to […]